Updated on 09/16/2011 7:31AM

Attempting to make up for lost time


ELMONT, N.Y. - After a fairly inactive first five months of the year, Bella Bellucci will try to make up for lost time during the next six weeks at Belmont Park.

Almost immediately after he scratched Bella Bellucci from the May 3 Kentucky Oaks because of a low blood count, trainer Neil Drysdale targeted the three-race series at Belmont known as the Triple Tiara. It begins with Friday's $250,000 Acorn Stakes, continues with the $250,000 Mother Goose at nine furlongs on June 29, and concludes with the $350,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at 12 furlongs on July 20.

The Acorn will be the sixth race on the nine-card card that begins at 3 p.m. Eastern. The Acorn, which kicks off the Acorn/Belmont Stakes double, will be broadcast live on ESPN from 5 to 6 p.m.)

Bella Bellucci, who is 4 for 5 lifetime, including 2 for 3 at Belmont, will have to beat a small but select group of rivals that includes multiple Grade 1 winner You, the speedy Proper Gamble, and the improving Nonsuch Bay.

Bella Bellucci has not run since April 14 when she romped to victory in the Grade 3 Comely Stakes at Aqueduct. The Acorn, like the Comely, is run at a mile around one turn.

Bella Bellucci is nicely drawn in post 5 in the six-horse field, meaning jockey Gary Stevens will be able to play off what happens inside of him.

The horse Bella Bellucci will have to beat is You, who won the Grade 1 Frizette over this track last October. The nine furlongs of the Kentucky Oaks may have been too far for You, who finished fourth. Trainer Bobby Frankel said You has begun to blossom while training at Belmont. Wednesday, she blew out three furlongs in 37.60 seconds.

"She's as sharp as ever,' Frankel said. "I've been real happy with her training. The turnback [to a mile] helps. She's going to run big.'

Proper Gamble figures to be the early pacesetter in the Acorn. In winning the Grade 2 Beaumont at Keeneland, Proper Gamble dueled early with Bold World and held off the late charge of Respectful by a nose.

"This is a step up in terms of quality of horses,' trainer Todd Pletcher said. "I'm confident she'll go over there and give us everything she's got.'

Jockey Javier Castellano was so impressed with Proper Gamble that he gave Pletcher a call for the Acorn immediately. In the interim, Castellano rode Nonsuch Bay to victory in the Grade 2 Nassau County Handicap. Nonsuch Bay will be ridden by John Velazquez from post 6.

Bonnie Miss winner Dust Me Off, who blew out four furlongs in 47.06 seconds Wednesday, and Willa on the Move, complete the field.

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